Traditional Route or Self-Publishing?
When I started writing The Syndrome Diaries back in 2010, my ambition was to hone it until it was as good as I could make it, then find a publishing house willing to take it on. Realistic? It no longer matters because in those two years there’s been a revolution. We’ve already seen it happen in music, and the written word seems set to go the same way.
I’m talking about new technology. I’m not sure that the old technology will disappear completely, particularly for coffee-table books and diagram-filled textbooks, but the way we consume books is changing at an incredible pace and marketing plans need to take account of that shift.
The third ‘P’ of marketing is Place, and it’s all about sales channels. Do I want my book to be downloaded from Amazon? In the window of my local bookshop? In the racks at every airport branch of W H Smiths? At the moment, I’d answer yes to all three. However, for a hard copy print to appear through a traditional publisher takes years – literally – if I’m one of the privileged few to have work accepted. Think of the surge in ebook reading in the last two years. What will happen in the next two?
The traditional route takes time – time finding an agent, time for the novel to be pitched to publishers, time for it to be edited and prepared for publication – and the novel could fail at any stage and possibly never be published. Is it worth pursuing the traditional route for its professional input when that input is so difficult to secure?
Self-publishing isn’t a simple option if it’s to be done well. As with any sales channel, there is a large element that I will be unable to influence, and once my novel is launched there are no guarantees that people will like it and want to buy it. Nevertheless, self-publishing gives me control in the weeks and months running up to that point, and as the publishing industry is so unpredictable at the moment, that autonomy is important to me. There are plenty of people out there with ereaders – and it’s my plan to give them something special to download.
Do you have an ereader?
Do you still buy hard copy books?
What makes you choose a particular format?